Leon Brittan buried in unmarked grave in ‘very private funeral’

Fears of vandalism following revelations of Met paedophile unit’s probe into ex-minister

By Mark ConradMark Watts and Nick Fielding
7 February 2015

Former home secretary Lord Brittan has been buried in an unmarked grave because of fears of vandalism.

Exaro can reveal that a funeral service was held, amid strict secrecy, for family members at Golders Green Jewish Cemetery a week after Brittan’s death.

A family friend and two other sources told Exaro of the “very private funeral” that took place in the early afternoon of Wednesday, January 28.

Gravediggers at the cemetery in north-west London have been briefed about the sensitivity surrounding Brittan’s unmarked burial site, and told to say that they know nothing about it.

As Exaro revealed a fortnight ago, the Metropolitan Police Service was investigating Leon Brittan at the time of his death over multiple allegations of sexually abusing boys.

These include historical claims that he repeatedly raped boys at Dolphin Square in Pimlico near Westminster, the apartment complex popular with MPs, at the Carlton Club in St James’s in central London and other locations. Two unidentified men allegedly murdered a boy in front of Brittan in a physical beating following sexual abuse in around 1981 or 1982.

In addition, the Met has been investigating Brittan over a claim that in 1967, before becoming an MP, he raped a female student known as “Jane”, then aged 19.

The family is worried that Brittan’s grave will be vandalised by people angry about the evidence against him of repeated sexual abuse from those he allegedly attacked.

Despite his death, the Met continues to investigate allegations against Brittan under two operations – ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Midland’ – as abuse survivors pressed them to do.

As home secretary from 1983 to 1985 in Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, Brittan was responsible for the police, Special Branch, and the Security Service, MI5.

As is traditional for Jewish burials, Brittan’s grave is not even marked by flowers. The cemetery waits nine to 11 months before laying a gravestone, usually leaving a white plate in the meantime with the person’s name.

Brittan’s widow, Diana, has asked staff at the cemetery only to take visitors to see the grave with the family’s permission.

One staff member said: “It is an unmarked grave. I need the permission of his family to take anyone down to the grave. We have to respect the family’s wishes.”

Brittan was buried in the west side of Golders Green Cemetery. It is also known as Hoop Lane Cemetery, and the Golders Green Crematorium is on the opposite side of the road.

According to Brittan’s death certificate, he died on Thursday, January 22, aged 75, at his home in Pimlico, central London.

The death certificate was issued just under a week later, on the day of the funeral. It shows that Brittan died of natural causes, from cancer of the bladder and in the blood, and a form of pneumonia.

There will be no inquest.

The cause of death is given in the certificate as “bronchopneumonia”, “haematological neoplasia” and “transitional carcinoma of the bladder”. It was certified by a private GP.

On the day of his death, the Brittan family said in a statement: “Leon passed away last night at his home in London after a long battle with cancer.”

“There will be a private funeral service for family only, and a memorial service to be announced.”

The prime minister led the tributes to Brittan, describing him in a statement as a “dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant”.

David Cameron said: “As a central figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government, he helped her transform our country for the better by giving distinguished service as chief secretary to the Treasury, home secretary, and secretary of state for trade and industry.

“He went on to play a leading role at the European Commission where he did so much to promote free trade in Europe and across the world. More recently, he made an active contribution to the House of Lords. My thoughts are with Leon’s family and friends at this sad time for them.”

Brittan was Cameron’s trade advisor from 2010 to 2011.

Those who allege that Brittan raped them were upset by the tributes.

Since the disclosure of the Met investigation into Brittan, there has been silence from Conservative MPs.

No memorial service for Brittan has been announced.

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

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